Serie A: Lazio vs Roma Preview & Betting Tips

Simone InzaghiThe city of Rome turns its attention to football tonight as Lazio and Roma lock horns in the famous Derby della Capitale (7.45pm Friday). At their shared home of Italy’s Stadio Olimpico, which of the capital’s clubs will come out on top?

After what was an admirable Serie A title challenge, at least for the most part, last term, one that saw them fall just five points short of eventual winners Juventus, Lazio would’ve come into this campaign with high hopes. However, things haven’t exactly gone to plan for Simone Inzaghi’s men, who find themselves down in a rather timid eighth position. They are five points shy of the coveted top four and a massive 12 behind table toppers AC Milan. There’s work to be done for the boys in baby blue, that’s for sure.

Roma on the charge

Lazio may not be hitting the levels that they did during the previous campaign, but Rome is the city challenging Milan for Serie A dominance. As they occupy third place, it is AS Roma who’re currently closest to AC Milan and Internazionale. Today’s “visitors” are six points in front of their city rivals, while they come into this game in pretty hot form having lost none of their last four, three of which they’ve won. A 2-2 draw against one of the two teams above them in the table certainly won’t have damaged the confidence levels of Paul Fonseca’s men ahead of this clash.

Roma’s venue

Although they are technically the away side, this really is a home game for both, what with the pair sharing this ground. Keeping this in mind, Roma’s home form this season catches the eye. While Lazio have struggled to put their best foot forward at home, especially offensively, scoring just 11 goals in eight home matches, Roma, or I Giallorossi as they’re affectionately known by their fans, have flourished on their own patch. Fonseca’s side currently have the best home record in Serie A, claiming 21 points from a maximum 27. In the process, they’ve scored an admirable 21 goals, conceding nine at the other end. Their goal difference of +13 stands up very well against Lazio’s -2.

Home not where the heart is?

Lazio have had a few problems at home this season. Despite scoring in eight out of eight, they’ve not really scored enough goals, scoring more than once in just three of their matches at Stadio Olimpico. They are the lowest home scorers in the top eight at present. Having said that, a relative lack of goals doesn’t seem to be their biggest issue. Their biggest problems have arisen in the defensive third. Inzaghi’s men have kept just one home clean sheet this season, while they’ve surrendered a reasonably weak average of 1.6 goals per home game. An average of 1.26 expected goals against isn’t terrible, though it’s not exactly inspiring when put next to an average of 1.36. So, on average, based on chances created and conceded, Lazio should be scoring just 0.10 goals more than their opponents per 90 minutes at home. Such a figure is unlikely to put fear into the heart of any opponent, let alone their bitter rivals, who are currently six points above them in the table.

Lazio have also found it relatively difficult to outshoot their opponents on average at home this term. They are averaging 12 shots for per match, as well as 3.75 shots on target for. At the other end, they have surrendered an average of 11.87 shots against and 4.87 shots on target against. Again, uninspiring numbers.

How do Roma’s numbers compare?

Roma have performed well at home in terms of both xG (expected goals) and shots. Fonseca’s side average a very pleasing 2.55 expected goals for per 90 minutes at Stadio Olimpico this term. They’ve conceded an average of just 1.05, giving them an average expected goals supremacy of +1.5, which is far better than Lazio’s +0.10.

When it comes to shots, Roma have also outperformed their rivals at this venue. They are averaging 15.88 shots for per 90 minutes at Stadio Olimpico, while they have registered an average of 5.55 shots on target. The averages at the other end stand at 8.55 and 2.44. Somewhat impressively, Roma have conceded more than two shots on target in just three of their nine home matches this term, which suggests that they’ve done a good job of preventing opposition attacks from becoming too serious.

Where’s the bet?

In the early betting, as far as the match winner betting is concerned, Lazio are considered marginal outsiders, as odds of 9/5 suggest. Roma can be supported at 13/10 generally and best odds of 7/5, which is difficult to resist. If we consider that Roma have bettered their rivals in pretty much every area at home this season, such a price looks on the generous side. Given everything that we know about the pair, especially from a numbers point of view, it would be no surprise to see the side that are technically “visitors” go off at shorter odds. Therefore, those looking to get involved should do so sooner rather than later.